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Despite law, sex selective abortion continues in India

Supreme Court orders states to report on enforcement efforts

Swati Deb, New Delhi

July 18, 2014

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India's Supreme Court on Thursday demanded that all states report on how they enforce laws meant to stop the aborting of female fetuses.

India outlawed pre-natal sex determination 20 years ago in order to prevent couples from resorting to female feticide. But an inspection team recently reported the practice continues unabated throughout the country.

The National Inspection and Monitoring Committee said in a statement to the court that in most cases, state authorities worked closely with clinics that carried out sex selective abortions.

The court asked all states to file affidavits on the implementation of the law and said that if any state fails to do so its responsible officer will have to make a personal appearance before the court.

The Supreme Court set September 16 as the day of the next hearing.

UNICEF, in a recent report, said that India has lost more than 10 million girls since 2007 to sex selective abortions. About 80 percent of Indian districts have recorded an increasingly skewed sex ratio since 1991, the agency said.

Officials with the federal Women and Child Welfare Ministry in New Delhi said the skewed sex ratio also has contributed to an increase in molestation and rapes in northern Haryana state and nearby areas.

Punjab has "856 and Haryana only 836 females per 1,000 males,” one official said, adding that the mismatch is bound to lead to social unrest. 

In northern states reports surfaced about boys' families “importing” brides from southern states, where the sex ratio is more balanced.

In 2013, the Supreme Court attributed ongoing female feticide to ineffective enforcement of the ban on pre-natal sex determination tests and appointed the monitoring panel as a result.

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